Sustainable organisational excellence is not about a focus on results OR a focus on people. It is about a focus on results AND a focus on people. Put another way, it is about a focus on people excellence.
Why the focus on people excellence? Simply because excellent results can only be achieved by excellent people.
Managers in most organisations today focus largely on the results; and setting goals and targets, and measuring progress against these. A limited amount of that effort goes into determining who needs to do what to achieve the desired results. Even less time is given to determining and then delivering the leadership actions which enable people to do what needs to be done to achieve the results.
When the results are not forthcoming, the typical managerial response is to increase the pressure on the result. Allied to this, management alters its reporting requirements – they require more reports on the results achieved, more often and in more detail.
Legitimate Leadership advocates making the setting and measuring/reporting of the results only 20% of the focus. That leaves the non-managers with 80% of their time focused on task excellence and realising the best in themselves.
Similarly, we believe that those in leadership roles should spend their time primarily on defining the value-adding contributions which need to be made by whom to achieve the desired results and then enabling the people to make those value-adding contributions.
Leaders, in short, need to dedicate themselves to the relentless pursuit of excellence in their people, not to getting results out of them. In any case, they have far more control over that than they do over the results.
But by focusing on excellence in their people, they also increase their chances of realising better results.